This is when the dog’s belly becomes even larger, but also more rigid, while the fetuses will have their skeletons and coats growing. The female will also be uncomfortable, especially if she is due to give birth to a high number of puppies for her size.
The nipples of the female dog will release a cloudy fluid known as either colostrum or “first milk”, while the tissue around the breast will be swollen and the nipples themselves will get darker and more prominent. Some dogs also start to shed hair on their bellies. Some people say that this is also when they started to see the fetuses moving beneath the mother’s skin.
This is the week in which the puppies will start to position themselves in the birth canal, being fully developed and almost ready to come out. The dog might get anxious and will look for a quiet and safe place where to deliver the puppies, while the abdomen will seem to be in a continuous motion. Give her access to enough newspapers, towels, or even clean blankets to help her make her nest. A crate, a kiddie pool, or any other enclosure that gives her enough comfort and privacy would be the perfect place. Remember not to use things you might want to keep after the birth, because they will most likely be ruined when she goes into labor. You will also need to prepare a second bedding set to place inside the nest after the female has finished giving birth.
This is when the whelping begins. You should try to take the dog’s temperature at least once per day. Go for a rectal thermometer if possible and make sure the dog’s temperature is between 100.5 and 102 degrees Fahrenheit. You will notice that the temperature of the mother will go lower a few degrees just before giving birth. This is a sign that things are moving forward and the dog is very close to labor, which shouldn’t take more than 24 hours from that point. As soon as the dog will go into labor, make sure you give her space, but try to also keep her under observation.